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How to maintain normal levels of cholesterol

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Individuals with either high levels of cholesterol or who are at risk of developing coronary heart disease are advised to maintain the adequate cholesterol levels in the body along with periodic monitoring of the cholesterol levels.

The first step towards maintaining optimal levels of cholesterol is lifestyle changes. The recommended intake of different types of fat and other substances are given in Table 2. 

Table 2: Recommended intake of different types of fat and other substances

Nutrient
Recommended intake
Saturated fat
<7 % of total calories
Polyunsaturated fat
Up to 10% of total calories
Monounsaturated fat
Up to 20% of total calories
Total fat
25–35% of total calories
Carbohydrates
50–60% of total calories
Fiber
20–30 g/day
Protein
Approximately 15% of total calories
Cholesterol
<200 mg/day

In general, the saturated fats (commonly found in cheese, whole milk and red meat) have to be replaced with monounsaturated fats (olive and canola oils) and polyunsaturated fats (corn oil and peanuts) in the diet.

Other changes recommended include regular exercise, weight reduction and cessation of smoking.

In certain cases, medications that belong to the group of bile acid sequestrants, fibric acids, nicotinic acid and statins are advised in individuals who are not able to attain optimal limits with lifestyle changes.1,2     

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Next page: Diet for cholesterol patients

Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: July 26, 2012